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Retiree regrets selling his flat to help son buy a condo.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Dear AK,

By chance, I got to know some people who are investors and they told me about you. I enjoy reading your blog but I decided to write to you when I read the blog post, How to have children and a comfortable retirement?

I am a 65 year old retiree. I was a school teacher for all my life until I retired. I am a widower and I have a son who is working in the sales line.

I had a HDB 3 room flat but I sold it a few years ago to help my son buy his matrimonial home, a condominium when he said the flat was too small for us to stay together as a family. I now live with my son and his wife.

Apart from what I have in my CPF, I don't have much savings. I don't get any money from my son as he is struggling financially and his wife who is from China is not well educated and cannot speak English well. She says she is not able to find a job but I think it is because she doesn't want to wait at tables or wash dishes.

The times when I talked to my son about selling his car or convincing his wife to find a job were unpleasant. I now avoid talking about money matters with him and I feel his wife is very cold towards me. It does not feel like home. I spend my days outside and only come home to sleep.

I sold my flat and gave the money to my son because I didn't want to stay alone but I regret my decision to sell my flat and to stay with him and his wife.

I want to share a message with all parents that although we should love our children and try to give them the best but, like you said, we should be pragmatic and not deprive ourselves of a comfortable retirement.

I wish someone had told me this earlier but I am not sure if I would have listened.

Uncle R


There are quite a few things I can say in response to Uncle R's situation but I shan't rub salt into his wound. Sometimes, we just need a listening ear.

I hope Uncle R will focus on activities that make his golden years meaningful and happy. I hope he will let go of regret and disappointment.

For what it is worth, I suggested that Uncle R read this blog post:
A simple concept to better mental health.

Related post:
I am not suggesting depriving children of necessities. I am suggesting not depriving ourselves of a comfortable retirement! 
- AK in How to have children and a comfortable retirement?


Kevin said...

Hi AK and Uncle R,

I feel Uncle R should introduce his son to AK's blog to improve his handling of his finances.

Cheer up Uncle R! this link is for you.

Sillyinvestor said...

Uncle R,

It was a decision out of love, nothing wrong, forgive yourself and move on.

Financially, it might not be possible to move out anymore. But find something to do, meaningful and prefab earning a token pay. So that u dun see what u dun like to see.

U own it to yourself to enjoy your golden years. The house is just bricks, and home need not be filled with family, although of course, we would prefer it to be that way.

Teach again perhaps, find the young ones and find love again.

Your son and daughter-in-law are grown up, good or bad, that now have to bear the consequences, good or bad. U have given them all the love, it's time to let go off "regret" and be light again.

Go see the world, outside that boring blocks. Find friends. Play mahjong, learn a new skill or hobbit. Learn business prospecting, learn investing, but go light on the money investing part. Cannot avoid to lose now.

All the best, with best wishes

Mike said...

My heart goes out to uncle R.. nothing like having a place to call your own. But taking a step back - its still good to have someone in the home in case of a fall or any emergencies. One case in point, my maternal grandma slipped and fell while home and as all of us were working (we don't have a full time helper either) she couldn't get up from the floor or call for help for hours ...until I got home. She had a fractured arm that was in a cast for months.

On another note -
It's always better to plan for one's golden years as if you don't have children to rely upon - use AK's blueprint - CPF life as the cornerstone or what I like to call the base for the kueh lapis... then slowly build up other sources of revenues such as dividends, rental income or part-time job income etc.

Also not to sound cynical but if they know you have some "inheritance" to give... they might treat you better :P Don't throw shoes at men ! (quoting AK) lol !!

Bobbabu said...

Dear Uncle R,

I'm really saddened to hear about your situation. You definitely deserved to enjoy your golden years after all the years of hard work. As mentioned by the other readers, think on the bright side of things and focus on what can be done and less on what you have done and regretted.

I'm not trying to dampen the mood any further but I thought I can contribute a little by giving you a legal perspective. Legally speaking, if the home is a matrimonial home registered with your son and his wife as joint owners, your proceeds to the purchase is likely to be seen as a gift to their matrimonial property. In my humble opinion, even in Equity (I'm talking about the Law of Equity & Trusts), you may not be awarded any % if ownership of the house. So it seems, things are bleak. [Caveat: these are not legal advice but a humble opinion]

As I've seen and read a fair share of disputes in property cases, my advice is practical. Try to forge a good bond and improve your relations between your son and his wife. Things will feel better with better relations.

Jean Yap said...

Dear Uncle R,

If the property is under your son and his wife name. Then, you need to think one step further. Sorry. What I mean here is, if anything happen to your son, you still can stay on this property, by law? If not, what can you do now to safeguard yourself?

I ever hear a story about the same situation. But the daughter-in-law fall in love with another man. The son can't take it and commit suicide. The old couple end out need to rent a room because the daughter-in-law has become the sole-owner of the property.


SMK said...

honestly this kind of story makes me angry at the son.

AK71 said...

Jessica Quek says...
I always feel that old folks should never spend their money on helping their children to buy their place.

Aik Keong Koh says...
As AK have always said, we got out own problems and solutions, the children will their own as well. While parents can help but in some cases, they really need to take care of themselves 1st.

csky said...

Uncle R's scenario happens quite a lot in SG I think.

I think my mom herself see until scared, that's why she always say "old folks must never sell their house, even if the kids ask you to move in to stay with them, you must keep your own flat as a rental or backup just in case relationship sours."

AK71 said...

Hi csky,

Your mother is very wise.

We must have a heart but we have to use our brain too. ;)

Unknown said...

I hv a suggestiion for Uncle R.
Persuade son to apply for a new HDB flat or buy a resale HDB flat.
After that he can sell his condo and return part of the sales proceeds to Uncle R, who can settle down in a 1 bedroom HDB unit, either on his own or share with a buddy/relative.


AK71 said...

Hi Linda,

Thank you for sharing your idea.

I certainly hope that Uncle R will find a measure of happiness in his golden years.

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